New honor code reflects importance of academic integrity

Identifying academic dishonesty as a problem, the SIC, comprised of Eugene Yang (12), Nagyon Kim (11), David Moon (11), Nick Yeo (10), Alice Lee (9) and Ruth Poulsen, English teacher, has been drafting an honor code since September. Upon its approval by the administration, the honor code will be posted for the first time on the cover page of the upcoming mid-term exams, as well as on most, if not all tests beginning next semester.

“The honor code does not set stricter punishments but instead  states the basic principles of academic integrity,” Alice said. “I think this will help reduce cheating by defining academic integrity as something that is more accessible and understandable for students. Despite my optimism, however, the honor code is not a guaranteed solution because we cannot assume that every student will take it seriously.”

The honor code is a response to not only the current situation at SIS but also the recent SAT scandals, which revealed that several Korean students paid 50 million won for access to unreleased tests. By reminding the SIS community of the importance of academic integrity and stressing that teachers are responsible for modeling honesty, the honor code aims to tackle problems related to acts of academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarism.

““I worry about academic integrity at SIS because I feel like students and teachers have different definitions on what academic integrity is,” said Courtney Caldwell, English teacher. “When I was a Notre Dame, everyone there was very intense about the honor code; students followed the code even for take-home tests. I’ve seen academic integrity work and I firmly believe we should have a discussion about it at SIS as well. Studies have shown that making students physically sign a written document helps, so I definitely think the honor code will be an improvement on the mental level.”

The honor code was officially introduced at an assembly during office hours on Wendesday, Nov.26. This provided a chance to openly discuss the issues of academic integrity.

“At private schools, especially, students may make poor choices because they feel obligated to meet high academic expectations, and adults are supposed to help them see the errors of these poor choices,” Mr. Lambie said. “[Academic integrity] all goes back to this culture and a group of rules and some speeches are not going to solve the problem immediately. Yes, the honor code is still a start. But we have to watch where it goes in a couple of years, when the now-freshmen are seniors.”